Winter wheat mixed as SD harvest begins

The quality of winter wheat is mixed as harvest begins in South Dakota.

In the central part of the state, in Onida, Oahe Grain Corporation’s general manager Tim Luken says the crop is short.

“It’s been in the 58 to 60 pound range, but the protein is averaging 15%, on the high side and yields are disappointing, ranging from 20 to 40 bushels per acre so far. Last year, he says farmers had yields between 70 to 100 bushels per acre.”

Luken says up until 10 days ago, it was a dry year for the winter wheat and now, some much-needed rains are helping the crop. There have been some harvest delays and if it gets too wet, there’s a chance of sprouting and impacted test weights, but Luken says it’s not a concern right now.

“I said before harvest, ya know, we’ve had a hard time getting this crop to the finish line and just watch, Mother Nature is going to turn on us and we’ll still have a hard time. She’s proven that.”

Reid Christopherson, the executive director of the South Dakota Wheat Commission, tells Brownfield dry conditions early on caused winter wheat abandonment in the southeast and east-central part of the state, but there should be some areas with a decent crop.

“If you go up and down the Missouri River and west, things have been looking good and I think there’s going to be a good crop for those farmers to harvest.”

Christopherson says it’s too early to make a general characterization of South Dakota’s entire winter wheat crop, but more will be known in the next few weeks.

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